739 KAR 2:040. Survivor benefits for death of a firefighter.

 

      RELATES TO: KRS Chapter 95A, 136.392

      STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 61.315(3)

      NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 61.315 authorizes the payment of survivor benefits of $50,000 to the survivor of a paid or volunteer firefighter who is killed in the line of duty after July 1, 1991. This administrative regulation establishes the procedures and criteria which shall be utilized to determine the eligibility of the firefighter's survivor benefits. This administrative regulation applies to both paid and volunteer firefighters.

 

      Section 1. Definitions. (1) "Active member" means a paid firefighter that is listed on the department roster and participates in the department's training programs and other various activities.

      (2) "Commission" means commission as defined by KRS 95A.210(1).

      (3) "Death in the line of duty" means death which occurs as a direct result of an act or acts in the performance of duty as described in these administrative regulations and shall include death which results from a heart or circulatory malfunction which is treated within forty-eight (48) hours after participation in the performance of these duties or as the result of illness, sickness or injury caused by the performance of these duties which result in death within twelve (12) months of the activities as described elsewhere in these administrative regulations providing death is not caused by suicide or self-inflicted injury.

      (a) If death occurs after twelve (12) months and is believed to be related to the above stated causes, the commission has the right of review with the possibility of determination of death in performance of duty.

      (b) These activities shall not include participation in any sports or athletic event or contest, whether for the purpose of fund raising or any other purpose.

      (4) "Child or children" means stepchildren, legally adopted children and children born posthumously.

      (5) "Firefighter" means firefighter as defined in KRS 61.315(1).

      (6) "Heart or circulatory malfunction" means myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis, cardiac arrest or a cerebral vascular accident which the symptoms of such malfunction are first medically treated within forty-eight (48) hours after participation in the performance of the duties of a paid firefighter as described in these administrative regulations.

      (7) "Performance of duty" means a firefighter acting in the performance of his duties when engaged in the following activities if the activities are performed at the direction or with the knowledge of an officer of the fire department or when immediate action is required at the scene of an emergency not involving his department or other emergency organization:

      (a) Firefighting;

      (b) Fire drills or other related training;

      (c) Rescue or emergency activities;

      (d) Repairing or doing other work about or in the fire or emergency apparatus or building and grounds of the fire department;

      (e) Answering an emergency call;

      (f) Riding in or upon the fire or emergency apparatus which is owned or used by the fire department;

      (g) Performing other duties of the fire department as authorized by the jurisdiction which the department serves; and

      (h) Attending meetings related to the fire service and travel to and from the meetings whether local, state, or national, as long as he is representing his local, state or national fire related organization.

 

      Section 2. Requirements for Eligibility. (1) Survivors. Benefits shall be paid to the surviving spouse, surviving children or both; or the surviving parents, as set forth in KRS 61.315(2).

      (2) Heart or circulatory malfunction limitations. If an individual becomes an active member of a fire department and has not within five (5) years prior to the date of membership been medically diagnosed as having had or has received any medication for myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis, cardiac arrest or a cerebral vascular accident, his eligible survivors shall receive the benefits if the firefighter is killed in the line of duty.

      (a) If the firefighter has been medically diagnosed a having had or receiving medication for the above illnesses within five (5) years prior to becoming an active member of a fire department and presents a medical statement to the commission from the firefighter's doctor that the firefighter has recovered or has been medically rehabilitated sufficiently to meet the physical demands of firefighting, the eligible survivors shall be eligible to receive the benefits granted through KRS 61.315 if the firefighter is killed in the line of duty.

      (b) If a firefighter of a fire department is medically diagnosed as having had or is prescribed medication for myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis, cardiac arrest or a cerebral vascular accident and returns to active fire service, their survivors shall not be eligible to receive benefits from this program in event of the firefighter's death caused by heart or circulatory malfunction until a medical statement from their doctor that the individual has recovered or has been medically rehabilitated sufficiently to meet the physical demands of firefighting is supplied the commission. Upon review and approval of the statement by the commission, the firefighter's survivors shall again become eligible to receive benefits from this program.

      (3) Autopsy. The commission reserves the right to request an autopsy providing sufficient cause can be shown for this request. If an autopsy is performed for any reason, a copy of the report signed by the individual who performs the autopsy and a notary public shall be furnished to the commission.

 

      Section 3. Application. (1) Upon the death in the line of duty of a firefighter, the fire department of which the firefighter was a member at the time of death shall notify the commission's administrator of the death immediately. Upon receipt of the notification, the administrator shall send Form KPF-4, July 14, 1998, to the notifying fire department in care of the chief as well as Form KPF-5 to the known survivors of the deceased firefighter.

      (2) Upon receipt of Forms KPF-4 and KPF-5, July 14, 1998, the chief and survivors or their representative shall properly fill out the forms and return them to the commission in care of the administrator.

      (3) Upon the receipt of the properly completed forms, a committee of the commission appointed by the chairman of the commission shall review the forms and forward them with their recommendations to the full commission for determination of eligibility. If there are questions about the forms, the committee and the administrator may seek clarification of the questions on behalf of the commission.

 

      Section 4. Certification of Payment of Benefits. Upon certification of survivorship rights to the Firefighter's Death Benefit, the sum of $50,000 shall be paid in check by the state treasurer from the general expenditure fund of the state treasury, as required by KRS 61.315(2) and the treasurer shall transmit the check to the commission's administrator for payment to the eligible survivor or survivors.

 

      Section 5. False and Fraudulent Statements. A person who knowingly or willfully makes any false or fraudulent statements or representation in any record or report to the commission under KRS Chapter 61.315 or this administrative regulation shall cause the survivors to become ineligible for further funds and those survivors may be responsible for the return to the state treasury of those funds which were received through these false or fraudulent statements or representations.

 

      Section 6. Appeals. (1) Decisions of the commission negatively affecting the eligibility of a survivor to be a recipient of the fund shall not be final until the survivor shall have been afforded an opportunity to be heard on the matter.

      (2) An appeal may be taken from a final decision of the commission to withhold payment from the fund to any survivor. The appeal shall be to the circuit court of the circuit where the controversy originated.

 

      Section 7. Incorporation by Reference. (1) The following material is incorporated by reference:

      (a) Report of Firefighter's Death, Form KPF-4, July 14, 1998.

      (b) Claim for Survivor Benefits, Form KPF-5, July 14, 1998.

      (2) This material may be inspected, copied, or obtained at the Commission on Fire Protection Personnel Standards and Education, 1049 U.S. 127 South, Suite #5, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (11 Ky.R. 912; eff. 12-11-84; Am. 16 Ky.R. 1505; eff. 3-8-90; 19 Ky.R. 2127; eff. 5-10-93; 25 Ky.R. 1202; 1608; eff. 1-8-99; recodified from 815 KAR 45:060, 3-27-2002.)